World War II

The British Services

MI5 and the XX System

N - P

O'Halpin, Eunan. "The Liddell Diaries and British Intelligence History." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 4 (Dec. 2005): 670-686.

This essay opens with a strong criticism of Nigel West's editing of the first published volume of the diaries [Nigel West, ed., The Guy Liddell Diaries -- 1939-1945, 2 vols. (2005)]. That is followed by the author's assessment of the diaries based on reading the original manuscript. He concludes that "Liddell's diaries add a great deal not only to our knowledge of MI5 but of wartime intelligence generally.... One of the virtues of the Liddell diaries is that he wrote constantly in the near present, so that he captured not only what was decided but often the alternatives considered at the time, some of which were promptly forgotten and never made it into institutional memory."

O'Halpin, Eunan.

1. "MI5's Irish Memories: Fresh Light on the Origins and Rationale of Anglo-Irish Security Liaison in the Second World War." In Ireland and the Second World War: Politics, Society and Remembrance, eds. Brian Girvin and Geoffrey Roberts, 133-150. Dublin: Four Courts, 2000.

2. ed. MI5 and Ireland, 1939-1945: The Official History. London: Frank Cass, 2002. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2003.

Doerries, JIH 9.1 & 2 (Summer 2010), notes that "[t]he 'Official History' presented in this highly interesting volume is, in fact, the history of the Irish Section [BIH] of MI5. The document ... was produced between the autumn of 1944 and the early days of 1946.... Eunan O'Halpin provides an excellent introduction for the contemporary historian as well as for future researchers possibly less informed on the internal makings of British intelligence in the 20th century.... [M]uch of this 'Note on the Work' is about: the fruitful cooperation of Irish and British intelligence [against the Germans] during World War II."

Owen, Frank. The Eddie Chapman Story: The Incredible Story of the London Safecracker Who Worked for Hitler and British Intelligence at the Same Time. New York: Messner, 1954.

Chapman's obituary appears at Telegraph (London). "[Obituary:] Eddie Chapman -- Safe-blower Who Became the Wartime Double Agent Zig-Zag and Outfoxed the Germans," 20 Dec. 1997. See also, Booth, ZIGZAG (2007); and Macintyre, Agent ZIGZAG (2007).

Peis, Günter. The Mirror of Deception: How Britain Turned the Nazi Spy Machine Against Itself. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1977. New York: Pocket Books, 1980. [pb]

Constantinides sees this effort to chronicle the activities of Tate and others in the XX system as "rather disjointed." The work has value, however, in its approach from the German viewpoint.

Pinto, Oreste.

1. Friend or Foe? New York: Putnam 1954. New York: Popular Library, 1954. [pb]

Kirkus Review, 15 Feb. 1953: "Pinto, a Dutch counterintelligence chief in England, examines ... the evidence in a few [counterintelligence] cases which held -- for him -- the widest margin for error and ended with a question mark.... The precision -- and patience -- which eventually expose men of doubtful affiliations and activities -- this has the fascination of its authentic material."

2. Spy-Catcher. London: Werner Laurie, 1952. New York: Harper & Row, 1952. New York: Berkley, 1952. [pb]

The author was a Dutch counterintelligence officer who worked with MI5 during World War II. His specialty was interrogating refugees from German-occupied Europe to sift out the German spies. Constantinides writes that Pinto's reputation as a counterintelligence expert has suffered because of the accusations he leveled against Dutch resistance leader Christiaan Lindemans, known as King Kong. Most of this book, however, "is a short handbook on military counterintelligence, with interrogation and interrogation techniques as the centerpieces." Reviewers at the time called it "superior, factual, and objective."

Popov, Dusko. Spy/Counterspy: The Autobiography of Dusko Popov. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1974. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1975. [pb]

Clark comment: Popov was agent "Tricycle" in the XX System. What his role was during a mission in the United States in 1941 remains controversial, especially in relation to the Pearl Harbor controversy. Pforzheimer says that Popov's "autobiography makes pleasant and informative reading about the life of an unusual double agent." His comments about his relations with the FBI "should be read with some caution." To Constantinides, Popov offers "a rare first-hand account of double agent operations and deception of the XX Committee from the agent's vantage point."

The following comment is taken from a posting in the newsgroup alt.politics.org.cia, signed by Ernest Volkman:

"Popov's memoir, a mix of truth, half-truth, and outright falsehood (like many intelligence memoirs), should be approached with caution. Newly-declassified papers reveal the real story of Popov's 1941 mission.

"Briefly, Popov was dispatched by the Abwehr to the United States with a 'shopping list' of intelligence the Germans wanted, concealed in a microdot. J. Edgar Hoover took an instant dislike to Popov, a moral degenerate, and thus did not spend too much time analyzing the material contained in Popov's microdot. His animus also balked a plan by MI6 and MI5 to use Popov as a deception agent against the Abwehr in the United States.

"In any event, among the items the Abwehr mentioned in the microdot was a request that Popov collect intelligence about Pearl Harbor. Hoover did not wonder why the Germans would want information about Pearl Harbor. He did pass on the Popov material to both Army and Navy intelligence, but, regrettably, both those agencies also failed to demonstrate any curiosity about the German interest in Pearl Harbor -- a military base far removed from any possible German military interest. Obviously, the Germans were doing a favor for their Japanese allies; tragically, nobody in American intelligence asked the next obvious question: why were the Japanese interested in detailed intelligence about Pearl Harbor?

"It should be noted that throughout 1941, the FBI (which in those days had foreign intelligence responsibilities) and the military intelligence agencies were aware of extensive Japanese intelligence operations directed against Pearl Harbor. (Indeed, the FBI was running a covert wiretap on the Japanese consulate in Honolulu, recording much information on the activities of Japanese agents working under diplomatic cover). The Americans concluded that all the Japanese spying was routine; i.e., Tokyo long had demonstrated an acute interest in Pearl Harbor, headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, so there was nothing to be alarmed about. Unfortunately, American intelligence failed to properly interpret the clues that in late 1941 unmistakably indicated that the Japanese were collecting intelligence preparatory to an actual attack on the installation. This conclusion was just one of a series of blunders that permitted a Japanese striking force to sail near Pearl Harbor undetected and launch a surprise attack that caught the Americans totally unaware."

Pujol, Juan, with Nigel West. Garbo. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985. Garbo: The Personal Story of the Most Successful Double Agent in World War II. New York: Random House, 1986.

According to Wheeler, IJI&C 2.1, this is a "valuable contribution to filling a gap in knowledge about the British MI-5 'Double-Cross System' of World War II.... Pujol, codenamed 'Garbo' by MI-5 and 'Arabel' by the Germans,... becomes the most successful double-agent in the vast Fortitude deception operation, 1943-1945." Although he believes it to be a "valuable source," Sexton cautions that "Chapters 5, 7-10 by West are marred by egregious errors." Campbell, I&NS 2.2, is also critical of West's contribution, specifically of what he sees as extraneous detail and unnecessary mistakes.

See also, Public Record Office, Intro., Mark Seaman, Garbo, The Spy Who Saved D-Day (London: 2000).

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